Posted by: joshjasper | December 1, 2008

What really is in that turkey?

Am I the only one that noticed the ridiculous amount of violence that occurred during Thanksgiving?  A man was shot and killed in Dyersville, a father stuck a fork in the neck of his son, a man was trampled and killed at Wal-Mart, 2 men shot and killed each other at Toy’s R Us….I could go on. 

I have been thinking a lot about this rash of violence and trying to make sense of it all.  A recent study found that domestic violence rose 30% the during week of Thanksgiving.  The same study and other studies like it note that holidays increase the stress in people’s lives which then contributes to the violence committed.  Although it makes sense that an increase of stress can be a factor of violence, I think there is more to be said about this finding.

Knowing that stress is a major factor in violence, and also knowing that stress can be effectively managed, would it not make sense then to assume that violence itself can be prevented and effectively eliminated if stress is a common factor?  Often times in my work when sharing about Riverview Center’s vision of a community free of sexual violence, it is met with skepticism, feelings of hopelessness, and apathy.  And understandably so.  I believe we as a community have become so normalized of the violence that surrounds us that it no longer shocks us when it occurs. 

I don’t know the whole story about the man killed in Dyersville but it sounds like a classic case of a verbal confrontation that turned deadly.  Imagine if the perpetrator of this crime would have had the skills to simply lower his stress in the situation, deescalate, and walk away.  A life may have been saved.  Even if this was an instance of self defense, could it not have been possible to spare a life had both of them had the abilities to cope with their stress?

Imagine how much violence could be prevented if we all practiced steps that we teach children…count to 10, take a deep breath, walk away, or even take a personal time out.

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